MELBOURNE REDS BY THE SEASON
A TRIBUTE TO THE HISTORY OF THE

WAVERLEY (MELBOURNE) REDS

1989/90 WAVERLEY REDS 1993/94 WAVERLEY REDS 1995/96 MELBOURNE REDS
1990/91 WAVERLEY REDS 1994/95 WAVERLEY REDS 1996/97 MELBOURNE REDS
1991/92 WAVERLEY REDS   1997/98 MELBOURNE REDS
1992/93 WAVERLEY REDS   1998/99 MELBOURNE REDS

  
1989/90 WAVERLEY REDS

Inaugural ABL Champions

Manager:  
Phil Dale Venue:   VFL Park
US Affiliate:  
Cincinnati Reds Sponsor:   Manchester Unity
Record:  
Wins Losses Win% Home
34 6 .850 17-2

Batting Champion:

David Clarkson .444 (126 At Bats)

Pitching Champion:

Phil Dale 1.44ERA (9-2, 81.1IP)

RBI Champion:

Ron Carothers  41 (161 At Bats)

Pitching Workhorse:

Carl Grovom 82.1IP (7-0, 2.73)

Home Run King:

Ron Carothers    6

Strikeout King:

Carl Grovom 70   (Phil Dale 64)

Base Path Pirate:

Mark Linger       13 of 16

Sigh of Relief:

Mark Respondek 4 Saves

CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES:

G1: Reds d. Monarchs 3-1 (Waverley Park) G3: Reds d. Monarchs 9-3 (Altona Stadium)

G2: Monarchs d. Reds 4-3 (Waverley Park)

G4: Reds d. Monarchs 3-2 (Altona Stadium)

AWARD WINNERS:

Phil Dale : League MVP Matthew Sheldon-Collins: Championship MVP

David Clarkson : Batting Champion

Phil Dale : Manager of the Year

Phil Dale : Pitcher of the Year

ALL-STARS:

David Clarkson: 1st Team Catcher Phil Dale: 1st Team Starting Pitcher

Pete Beeler: 1st Team First Base

Phil Dale: 1st Team Manager

David Buckthorpe: 1st Team Second Base

Craig Kernick: 2nd Team Third Base
Matthew Sheldon-Collins: 1st Team Short Stop Carl Grovom: 2nd Team Starting Pitcher
Ron Carothers: 1st Team Outfielder Mark Respondek: 2nd Team Relief Pitcher

Formed by Melbourne’s powerful local club Waverley Wildcats, the Waverley Reds were to become the first “flagship” of the new ABL competition. The Reds were a combination of Waverley stars, blended with mostly established performers from other local Melbourne clubs. The team was highly experienced and did not have a weakness; this was the secret to their near invincibility.

Cincinnati Reds US imports Pete Beeler (catcher) and Carl Grovom (pitcher) were among the finest ever to feature in the ABL and each played their part in the success. Waverley Reds completed a totally dominant inaugural season of ABL competition with a decisive 3-1 Championship Series win.

Waverley Reds could only play the first two games of the Championship series at home due to VFL usage of Waverley Park for pre-season football competition.

Hardly surprising, the Waverley Reds also dominated the season awards, with Player / Manager Phil Dale scooping a host of awards that will be hard to top.

Right from the start, the Waverley Reds set a standard for the league that will be very difficult to surpass.

Inaugural ABL Champions -  a slice of history that can never be repeated!!

  

  
1990/91 WAVERLEY REDS

Finished in 4th Place

Manager:  
Phil Dale Venue:   VFL Park
US Affiliate:  
Cincinnati Reds Sponsor:   Manchester Unity
Record:  
Wins Losses Win% Home
20 18 .526 10-10
Batting Champion:

David Clarkson .370 (127 At Bats)

Pitching Champion:

Mike Anderson  2.58ERA (6-1)

RBI Champion:

Ron Carothers  33 (149 At Bats)

Pitching Workhorse:

Phil Dale  68.0IP (7-3, 3.18ERA)

Home Run King:

Ron Carothers  10

Strikeout King:

Mike Anderson  48  (Phil Dale 42)

Base Path Pirate:

Pete Beeler  (6 of 7) 

Sigh of Relief:

Dave McAuliffe  3 Saves, 5.76ERA

CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES:

Two-team Championship Series Format contested between Perth Heat (underdog Champions) and Daikyo Dolphins. Perth winning the Championship series 3-2.

AWARD WINNERS:

Myles Barnden : Rookie of the Year

ALL-STARS:

Ron Carothers – 1st Team Outfielder David Buckthorpe – 2nd Team Second Base

David Clarkson – 2nd Team Catcher

Myles Barnden – 2nd Team Third Base

Was it “Championship hangover”, or the improvement in the rest of the teams?

Hard to judge, but there is little doubt that the 1990/91 Waverley Reds were a disappointment to their fans who expected a repeat of their inaugural Championship.

Perhaps the highlight of the season for the Reds was the then record home crowd of 11,444 that flocked to Waverley Park on 9 November 1991... an attendance the Reds have sadly not approached since!

ABL legend Jon Deeble joined the Reds when “his” Monarchs went into exile. He was to be voted the Reds’ MVP for 1991.

Teenager Myles Barnden emerged as ABL Rookie of the Year.

US import Mike Anderson was a quality pitcher and All-Star Pete Beeler returned for another very good season.

  

  
1991/92 WAVERLEY REDS

Finished in 3rd Place

Manager:  
Phil Dale Venue:   VFL Park
US Affiliate:  
Atlanta Braves Sponsor:   Manchester Unity
Record:  
Wins Losses Win% Home
27 19 .586 16-8
Batting Champion:

Jon Deeble  .323 (130 At Bats)

Pitching Champion:

Phil Dale  2.12ERA (7-3, 89.1IP)

RBI Champion:

R. Carothers & David Clarkson 33

Pitching Workhorse:

Scott Ryder  92.1IP (8-3, 3.80)

Home Run King:

Ron Carothers  7

Strikeout King:

Scott Ryder  71

Base Path Pirate:

Brian Kowitz (26 of 30)             Kevin O’Connor (20 of 22)

Sigh of Relief:

Mark Respondek 3 Saves (2.93)

CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES:

Reds finish just ½ game behind second place and miss the two-team Championship series, won by the Daikyo Dolphins 3-1 over the Perth Heat.

AWARD WINNERS:

NIL

ALL-STARS:

Brian Kowitz – 1st Team Outfielder Kevin O’Connor – 2nd Team Outfielder

Reds battle through an “unspectacular” season to finish a disappointing ½ game out of the Championship series action.

Team boss Phil Dale moved from the Cincinnati Reds to Atlanta Braves during the US season and ultimately organised the Reds to change affiliate to the Braves.

We could not complain about our first influx of Braves’ imports that were arguably the best “group” in Reds’ history.

Lion-hearted pitcher Scott Ryder was an honest performer on the mound, while outfielders Brian Kowitz and Kevin O’Connor were perhaps the best pair of US position players ever to join the Reds.

Third place may have satisfied some teams, but not Waverley Reds!

  

  
1992/93 WAVERLEY REDS

Finished in 4th Place

Manager:  
Phil Dale Venue:   VFL Park
US Affiliate:  
Atlanta Braves Sponsor:   AUSTICKETS
Record:  
Wins Losses Win% Home
26 21 .553 14-10
Batting Champion:

M. Sheldon-Collins  .306 (173AB)

Pitching Champion:

Carlos Reyes    2.02ERA (9-1)

RBI Champion:

David Clarkson  24 (137 At Bats)

Pitching Workhorse:

Carlos Reyes    98.0IP

Home Run King:

D. Clarkson & Andrew Spencer 4

Strikeout King:

Carlos Reyes    74

Base Path Pirate:

Glenn Reeves (11 of 11)

Sigh of Relief:

Phil Dale  7 Saves (2.47ERA)

PLAYOFF SEMI-FINAL: 1 v 4 (Parry Field, Perth)

G1: Perth Heat d. Waverley Reds 7-2 G2: Perth Heat d. Waverley Reds 6-3

CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES:

Underdog Melbourne Monarchs topple Perth Heat 2-0 for the Championship, in Perth.

AWARD WINNERS:

Andrew Spencer – Rookie of the Year Phil Dale – Manager of the Year
Carlos Reyes – Pitcher of the Year

ALL-STARS:

Carlos Reyes – 1st Team Starting Pitcher Phil Dale – 2nd Team Relief Pitcher
M. Sheldon-Collins – 2nd Team Short Stop

Waverley Reds make a long awaited return to the playoff action in 1992/93 but couldn’t overcome Perth Heat at Parry Field.

The Reds were best served by import pitcher Carlos Reyes who will always rank among the finest pitchers in the history of our league.

Powerful youngster Andrew Spencer emerged as a dangerous hitter and was rewarded with Rookie of the Year honors.

Phil Dale was again voted Manager of the Year for re-shaping the inaugural Champions into a new team with a crop of younger players who would be the stars of the future; among them Aaron Harvey, Scott Dawes and Glenn Reeves.

Dale himself made a controversial transition to relief pitcher and was again an excellent performer on the mound.

Great Reds’ favorites Ronnie Carothers and David Buckthorpe were both released and allowed to join crosstown rivals Melbourne Monarchs.

  

  
1993/94 WAVERLEY REDS

Finished in 6th Place

Manager:  
Phil Dale Venue:   VFL Park
US Affiliate:  
Atlanta Braves Sponsor:   PEPSI (ABL)
Record:  
Wins Losses Win% Home
22 31 .415 10-15
Batting Champion:

Aaron Harvey   .284 (183 At Bats)

Pitching Champion:

Phil Dale  2.72ERA (4-5, 56.1IP)

RBI Champion:

Andrew Spencer 28 (146 At Bats)

Pitching Workhorse:

Simon Sheldon-Collins  71.1IP

Home Run King:

Andrew Spencer (Scott Dawes 6)

Strikeout King:

Simon Sheldon-Collins  50

Base Path Pirate:

Aaron Harvey (17 of 22)

Sigh of Relief:

Phil Dale  5 Saves (2.72ERA)

CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES:

Reds a long way from the playoff action as the unfancied Brisbane Bandits beat Sydney Blues 2-0 for the ABL Championship.

AWARD WINNERS:

NIL

ALL-STARS:

Aaron Harvey – 2nd Team Outfielder

Little to boast for the Waverley Reds after a “re-building” 1993/94 season.

The Reds again concentrated on their development of young players for the next generation; among them were Michael Nakamura, Ben Utting and Shane Hogan.

The less said about our Atlanta Braves imports the better! Outfielder Pedro Swann with pitchers Michael Place and John Wilder each failed to impress.

The Reds were again best served by their “heart & soul” future ABL legends Phil Dale, David 'Clarko' Clarkson, Matty Sheldon-Collins and Simon 'Spike' Sheldon-Collins.

  

  
1994/95 WAVERLEY REDS

ABL CHAMPIONS

Manager:  
Paul Runge Venue:   Moorabbin Oval
US Affiliate:  
Atlanta Braves Sponsor:   TOOHEYS
Record:  
Wins Losses Win% Home
44 14 .750 19-7
Batting Champion:

David Nilsson  .388 (160 At Bats)

Pitching Champion:

Phil Dale   2.76ERA (12-2, 101.0IP)
Dirk Blair   3.21ERA
(13-2)

RBI Champion:

David Nilsson   56

Pitching Workhorse:

Phil Dale 101.0IP (Dirk Blair 91.2IP)

Home Run King:

David Nilsson   16  (Adam Burton 12)

Strikeout King:

Phil Dale    75

Base Path Pirate:

Adam Burton (22 of 29)

Sigh of Relief:

Brendan Ratcliffe  2 SV, 2.56ERA

PLAYOFF SEMI-FINAL: 1 v 4 (Moorabbin Oval)

G1: Waverley Reds d. Sydney Blues 5-1 G2: Waverley Reds d. Sydney Blues 7-4

CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES:

G1: Waverley Reds d. Perth Heat 5-1 G2: Waverley Reds d. Perth Heat 4-2
Waverley Reds become the first multiple ABL Champions with a 2-0 Championship victory.

AWARD WINNERS:

David Nilsson – ABL Batting Champion Paul Runge – Manager of the Year
Phil Dale – Pitcher of the Year     Phil Dale – Championship Series MVP

ALL-STARS:

David Nilsson – 1st Team Catcher Adam Burton – 2nd Team Outfielder
Phil Dale – 1st Team Starting Pitcher David Clarkson – 2nd Designated Hitter
Paul Runge – 1st Team Manager

Waverley Reds become the ABL’s first multiple Champions with the repeat of their inaugural 1989/90 triumph.

The arrival of Australia's major league superstar David Nilsson and outstanding US manager Paul Runge are listed as the key factors behind the Waverley Reds becoming the first team to win a 2nd ABL Championship... but there were other reasons too!!

Lead-off man Adam Burton emerged as a genuine ABL star, providing the “spark plug” for the offence with his own special brand of mayhem both with the bat and on the base paths.

They were superbly served by starting pitchers Phil Dale and US import Dirk Blair who both finished 14-2 and who were also responsible for all four playoff wins.

The dynamic “one-two punch” paced each other through the second half of the season and received some solid support from starter Simon Sheldon-Collins, import Aaron Turnier and reliever Brendan Ratcliffe... arguably the best pitching arsenal ever to grace the Reds’ bullpen.

The Reds finished the season with a stunning 17 game unbeaten streak and a staggering 15 from 16 wins on the road to unseat Perth from first place, then march to the ABL Championship. A celebration to mark our first season at Moorabbin.

  

  
1995/96 MELBOURNE REDS

RUNNERS-UP

Manager:  
Jim Saul Venue:   Moorabbin Oval
US Affiliate:  
Atlanta Braves Sponsor:   TOOHEYS
Record:  
Wins Losses Win% Home
27 21 .553 11-13
Batting Champion:

Greg Jelks  .364 (55 At Bats)

Pitching Champion:

S. Sheldon-Collins  3.40ERA (7-4)

RBI Champion:

Myles Barnden & D. Clarkson 23

Pitching Workhorse:

Simon Sheldon-Collins  76.2IP

Home Run King:

Myles Barnden   6

Strikeout King:

Damian Moss 58 (3.72ERA, 67.2IP)

Base Path Pirate:

Aaron Harvey (21 of 24)

Sigh of Relief:

Phil Dale   3 Saves (4.46ERA)

PLAYOFF SEMI-FINAL: 1 v 4 (RNA Showgrounds)

G1: Reds d. Brisbane Bandits 10-8 (11 Inn) G2: Reds d. Brisbane Bandits 15-12 (10 Inn)

CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES: (Sydney Showgrounds)

G1: Sydney Blues d. Melbourne Reds 8-4 G2: Sydney Blues d. Melbourne Reds 5-2
Sydney Blues clinch their first ABL Championship, largely on the back of 1996 "Superman" and MVP Gary White who again delivered the decisive home runs in the Championship series to secure the 2-0 sweep. Reds reached the final after an amazing upset of Brisbane in an epic semi-final.

AWARD WINNERS:

NIL

ALL-STARS:

Aaron Harvey – 2nd Team Outfielder

The delight of Reds’ fans that greeted the arrival of Australia’s major league star David Nilsson in 1994/95 and the subsequent Championship victory all too quickly turned to grief when David announced he would not return to the club in 1995/96. Equally as damaging was the departure of Adam Burton whose absence deprived the Reds of offensive spark, while he went on to win the ABL batting title with Brisbane!

Suddenly our defending Champion Melbourne Reds were a team in turmoil, having to overcome a disruptive off-season and a modest start to reach the Championship series once again. The team also welcomed the controversial arrival of Perth’s former major league slugger Greg Jelks after a protracted court battle. Jelks may have been our hope to ease the disappointment of Nilsson’s departure and he did perform well for the club towards the end of 1995/96.

The Reds survived one of the all-time great playoff series with two extra-innings epic wins against season dominating Brisbane, but couldn't find enough offence to topple the Sydney Blues “team of destiny” who were hungry for their first ever ABL title. Looking back on a season that will always be clouded by the “David Nilsson saga”, it was a remarkable effort by the team to give themselves another chance at the Championship series.

  

  
1996/97 MELBOURNE REDS

8TH (LAST) PLACE

Manager:  
Tom Nieto Venue:   Moorabbin Oval
US Affiliate:  
New York Yankees Sponsor:   TOOHEYS
Record:  
Wins Losses Win% Home
17 41 .293 14-16
Batting Champion:

Myles Barnden  .299 (177 At Bats)

Pitching Champion:

Greg Resz  2.27ERA (4-4, 43.2IP)

RBI Champion:

Myles Barnden     32

Pitching Workhorse:

Warren May 53.2IP (4.53ERA)

Home Run King:

Myles Barnden       8

Strikeout King:

Greg Resz & Ben Ford  31

Base Path Pirate:

Ben Utting (9 of 12)

Sigh of Relief:

Heath Martin (19 Appearances)

CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES: (Sydney Showgrounds)

Sadly, an embarrassing last place finish for the proud Melbourne Reds. 
Perth Heat beat Brisbane Bandits 2-1 to join the Reds as the only multiple Champions.

AWARD WINNERS:

NIL

ALL-STARS:

NIL

GOODBYES:

Goodbye to “original” Reds legends David “Clarko” Clarkson, Matthew “Matty” Sheldon-Collins and Ronnie Carothers. Each announced retirement during 1996/97, ending “Hall-of-Fame Careers”.

VALE:

Farewell also to the Reds’ legendary identity and home game announcer Doug Clarkson who can never be replaced as the original “Voice of the Reds”. 
Doug sadly passed away soon after the 1996/97 season.

In the world of sport it is hard to imagine a more “difficult” proposition for a team than that facing the Melbourne Reds in 1996/97. David Nilsson was gone, and Greg Jelks joined him in a shock departure after the Reds had fought so hard to give him the opportunity to play the season before!!

Worse still, club legend, pitching great and original manager Phil Dale stunned the Reds with his decision to join our crosstown rival Melbourne Monarchs. Dale took with him popular outfielder Aaron Harvey, emerging pitching star Damien Moss and our affiliation with the Atlanta Braves... what was left you may ask??

Despite these “mortal blows” our young team did provide some cause for optimism with some bold performances, particularly at home where we went a “relatively respectable” 14-16. We did unearth some promising young pitchers in Matt Gourlay, David McWatters and Rikki Johnson who could each become star ABL “arms” of the future.

Our first season of affiliation with the New York Yankees was far from notable with eight Yankee imports arriving and only one returning home with any credit …. quality pre-Christmas pitcher Greg Resz. Certainly a season to forget!!

  

  
1997/98 MELBOURNE REDS

ABL CHAMPIONS

Manager:  
Tom Nieto Venue:   Moorabbin Oval
US Affiliate:  
New York Yankees Sponsor:   TOOHEYS
Record:  
Wins Losses Win% Home
30 21 .588 16-9
Batting Champion:

Adam Burton  .388 (165 At Bats)

Pitching Champion:

Pat Ahearne 3.36ERA 3-4, 56.1IP

RBI Champion:

Adam Burton     55

Pitching Workhorse:

Jason Beverlin  72.1IP  2-4, 6.22

Home Run King:

Adam Burton  21  (Shane Hogan 18)

Strikeout King:

Jason Beverlin     67

Base Path Pirate:

Adam Burton (18 of 19)

Sigh of Relief:

D. Simpson & D. White (2 Saves)

Round Robin Series: (Melbourne Ballpark)

DAY1: Melbourne Reds d Sydney Storm 18-5

DAY2 : Melbourne Reds d G.Coast Cougars 2-1

DAY3: Melb Monarchs d Melb Reds 12-5 (dead)

GRAND FINAL: (Melbourne Ballpark)

G1: Melbourne Reds 4 d Gold Coast Cougars 3 G2: Melbourne Reds 4 d Gold Coast Cougars 0
Melbourne Reds becoming the ABL's First & Only Three-time Champions.

AWARD WINNERS:

Tom Nieto – Manager of the Year Chris Ashby – Inaugural All-Star Game Home Run King
Shane Hogan – Championship Series MVP

ALL-STARS:

Adam Burton – 1st Team 2nd Baseman Tom Nieto – 1st Team Manager
Ben Utting – 1st Team Short Stop

WELCOMES:

The Reds welcomed new Operations Manager Bruce Utting who took over the “front office” of the Reds following the departure of part-owner Andy Karetsky who had to return to the States for family reasons. Bruce certainly settled into the job quickly and earned the respect of Reds fans and opponents alike. With little time to prepare for the 1997/98 season, Bruce helped to bring a more positive outlook to the club that struggled so badly in ‘97. If you judge him by on-field results, we would love to see what he does for an encore …. Last to first, TOP THAT!!

Let’s start with the obvious …. LAST TO FIRST – HISTORY MAKERS – TRIPLE CHAMPIONS!!

Reds fans will never forget the exhilarating rise of the team that almost embarrassed us in ’97 to the glory of becoming the ABL’s first triple Champions just a year later!! It is a turnaround that defies all explanation in the modern world of top-level professional sport. I will attempt to piece together the reasons in no particular order:

Maybe most critical was the return of now-established offensive superstar Adam Burton, an original Reds favourite and championship player who had won a batting title with Brisbane. ‘AB’ returned with all of his offensive talents, but also provided the “spark” and “leadership” for the clubhouse along with another established young leader Glenn Reeves.

Next was the unfortunate news for young short stop Ben Utting who may have lost his professional contract with the Braves, but this provided a massive bonus for the Reds, Ben swinging a metal bat for the first time. Ben emphasised again the disadvantage of young professionals trying to match seasoned players with wooden bats against their metal ones! He emerged as a genuine offensive force maintaining a high average while also providing some power and a constant base stealing threat. Then there was the maturing force Jeff Spencer who had his ABL “coming out party” during ’98, showing regular glimpses of his potential with a wooden bat while playing both 3rd and 1st base at different times.

Also arriving from Adelaide was quality hitter Darren White who didn’t quite have the offensive season he might have liked, but he was another important “personality” in the team.

Our affiliate the New York Yankees too came to the party this year, sending out two of the best offensive imports seen during ’98 and two of the best in Reds history; Chris Ashby and Derek Shumpert. This pair helped give the club the “flying start” we needed to restore confidence in ’98 and it is a pity that both had returned to the States by the time the champagne flowed in February. They also provided the regular No.1 starter for the club Jason Beverlin who battled through a tough regular season to emerge as one of the genuine heroes of our playoff triumph.

Of course we still had the ever-reliable Scott Dawes and youngster Andrew Utting to mind the plate, along with dangerous hitters Myles Barnden patrolling third base and Shane Hogan in a utility / DH role.

Some may have derided our pitching depth coming into the season, but they reckoned without the early season efforts of pitchers like Warren May, Bob Hogan and Ben Smith who each gave our offence a chance to win most games. We must not forget David “Simmo” Simpson and Mark “Spock” Respondek who were also stalwarts of the bullpen and most important to the “fabric” of the clubhouse.

Then, of course, we had the field management of Tom Nieto, a highly respected NY Yankees minor-league manager who returned with determination to “put right” the struggles of the club from ’97, superbly assisted by legendary Reds player David ‘Clarko’ Clarkson. They were armed with a much stronger roster than the previous season, but they must also take plenty of credit for “moulding the team” in such a short time!

These factors were enough to make us very competitive and playoff contenders, but it is still questionable whether the ’98 Championship trophy would have “Melbourne Reds” inscribed on it if it were not for the mid-season moves of the club management, challenged by the departure of three imports.

Perhaps sensing a real chance for success and with the courage of their convictions, the club set about recruiting key players Pat Ahearne, Raul Rodarte and David White. Chairman Geoff Pearce said at the time that we had battled well to be in a playoff position and that our search for replacement players was an effort to “paddle hard”, hoping to stay in the Championship race... It proved an accurate assessment!

Ahearne was to become the “ace” of our starting rotation both down the stretch and during our playoff triumph... Enough said! Raul Rodarte (an internet find by Bruce Utting) took some time to convince Tom Nieto of his value, but towards the end of the season he was an integral bat in the lineup, along with his playoff status as “fan favourite”.

Perennial “all purpose pitcher” journeyman David White brought with him vast experience and his hunger for a long-awaited Championship. The Reds helped him get his “ring” and he certainly helped us win our third Championship!

Yes, we had some fine talent, but if ever there was a title built on “intangibles” it was the ’98 Melbourne Reds. The team had strong motivation to erase the memories of ’97 and the personalities introduced to the team surely helped generate the “spirit” needed for success. The Reds faithful who ventured across town to Altona on those balmy days of February ’98 will all have fond memories that they will never likely forget.

The 10-run opening innings against Sydney in the first playoff game set the tone for our series...

Who could forget Burton’s three home runs in that “blowout” game?... Or Jeff Spencer’s 5-hit game!... The home run by Rodarte next day to bring us back to earth and started the kids behind home plate welcoming him with a chorus of “wolf howls” that sounded a bit like Raul!... The determination of skipper Glenn Reeves to “make things happen” at the plate despite his battle for form during the season... The masterly pitching of imports Ahearne and Beverlin against the best hitters in the country... The brilliance of our infield defence led by Burton, Ben Utting, Barnden and Spencer... 

The courageous, faultless efforts of Dawes behind the plate... We can still feel Scotty taking that head-on collision from Cougar import Corey Jenkins, but he hung on to get the big out! What about the closing performances of David White and Bob Hogan in the championship games?... Or the home run heroics of Shane Hogan in BOTH championship games?...

Or the joy of watching Myles Barnden’s 3-run shot sail over the rightfield fence to secure the title!

Ahhhh, those were the days!... we wondered if it would be possible to re-live that kind of glory again?

To the owners, management, players and staff of the 1997/98 Melbourne Reds, we fans will forever be grateful to you for restoring pride to our club and providing us a “roller-coaster ride” that ended with unforgettable moments of sporting magic! Triple Champions and once again the “flagship” of the Australian Baseball League.

  

  
1998/99 MELBOURNE REDS

5TH PLACE

Manager:  
Steve Livesey Venue:   Moorabbin Oval
US Affiliate:  
Tampa Bay D-Rays Sponsor:   BARTERCARD
Record:  
Wins Losses Win% Home
20 23 .465 15-8
Batting Champion:

Adam Burton  .372 (148 At Bats)

Pitching Champion:

David White     4.41ERA (7-4)

RBI Champion:

Adam Burton     40

Pitching Workhorse:

David White     81.2IP

Home Run King:

Adam Burton     14

Strikeout King:

David White     57

Base Path Pirate:

Adam Burton & Matt Quatraro  6

Sigh of Relief:

Matthew Gourlay  4 Saves

CHAMPIONSHIP:

Gold Coast Cougars win the Championship 2-0 over Sydney Storm at Homebush Stadium.

AWARD WINNERS:

Adam Burton – ABL MVP Adam Burton – ABL batting Champion 

ALL-STARS:

Adam Burton – 1st Team 2nd Baseman Brian Becker - 2nd Team 1st Baseman
Matthew Quatraro – 1st Team Outfielder Darren White - 2nd Team Outfielder
Shane Hogan - 2nd Team Designated Hitter

GOODBYES:

Goodbye to popular and long-serving Reds players Rob Hogan, David Simpson, Glenn Reeves and Mark Respondek.

Sadly not a lot to get really excited about for the Reds in what proved to be the last season of ABL competition.

There were some "teething problems" with new affiliate Tampa Bay Devil-Rays who didn't supply the pitching strength we needed to be competitive. Import Denis Pujals appeared to be the best of them, but he returned home mid-season to get married... the sort of disruptive action that typified our 1998/99 season.

We were able to crow about the offensive magnificence of Adam Burton who was a dominant player all season, topping the league batting averages and deservedly winning the Australian Baseball League MVP Award. We could also thank the typically "lion hearted" pitching of veteran David White who once again enhanced his massive reputation.

Not much joy to end the ABL decade, but we would be content to be the inaugural ABL Champions and the only team to win the ABL Championship on three occasions.